Actress Glenn Close says she wants to live in a world where mental illness is talked about openly and accepted as a fact of life.
The Emmy- and Tony-award-winning actress is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, this week for a gathering designed to bring awareness to efforts aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.
"I'm excited about every aspect of this event. I think for those of us who are coming in to participate it's very exciting, because I really look forward to talking to the students and learning about what they're dealing with," Close told The Associated Press during an interview Thursday at the University of Michigan. "There's a lot of anxiety, depression, and stigma on campuses. I think kids are really, really open and ready to talk about it."
Close, NFL player Brandon Marshall, rapper/singer Logic and others are visiting the campus to show support for the Steven Schwartzberg Foundation, which is launching a campaign to empower students to address issues of mental health by encouraging conversations.
The campaign is called "Who Can Relate?" It takes its name from a line in Logic's hit song "1-800-273-8255," named for the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Lyrics from Logic's song include: "I don't wanna be alive/I just wanna die today," and "I want you to be alive/You don't got to die today."
Logic is scheduled to perform Friday night with profits going to organizations that share the same goal of de-stigmatizing mental illness, including Close's Bring Change to Mind, which she co-founded after her sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her nephew with schizoaffective disorder. Also benefiting from the show will be Project375, which was founded by Marshall and his wife, Michi Marshall, after the star wide receiver was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Michi Marshall spent much of Thursday leading a mental health first-aid training session. Close stopped in to check out the training and also attended a lecture by artist and social activist Peter Tunney.
The event was created by Harris Schwartzberg, who sits on the board of Bring Change to Mind and is an advisory board member of the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Depression Center. The Steven Schwartzberg Foundation is named for Harris Schwartzberg's brother, who died after a long struggle with bipolar disorder.
"Glenn is a person and Brandon's a person, and they struggle and their families struggle. And it should set a great example for people to come out and speak. And that's really the most inspiring is that they're willing to risk their public platform to spread the message it's that important," Schwartzberg said.
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